(661) Now first collected.
You are not very corresponding, (though better of late,) and therefore I will not load the conscience of your fingers much, lest you should not answer me in three months. I am happy that you are content with my edition of your Ghost, and with the brown copy. Every body is charmed with your poem: I have not heard one breath but of applause. In confirmation, I enclose a note to me from the Duchess of Gloucester, who certainly never before wished to be an authoress. You may lay it up in the archives of Cowslip-green, and carry it along with your other testimonials to Parnassus.(663) Mr. Carter, to whom I sent a copy, is delighted with it. The Bishop, with whom I dined last week, is extremely for your printing an edition for yourself, and desired I would press you to it. Mind, I do press you: and could Bonner’s Ghost be laid again,-which is ,impossible, for it will walk for ever, and by day too,—we would have it laid in the Red Sea by some West India merchant, who must be afraid of spirits, and cannot be in charity with you. Mrs. Boscawen dined at Fulham with me. It rained all day; and, though the last of July, we had fires in every room, as if Bonner had been still in possession of the see.
I have not dared to recollect you too often by overt acts, dear Madam; as, by the slowness of your answer, you seem to be sorry my memory was so very alert. Besides, it looks as if you had a mind to keep me at due distance, by the great civility and cold complimentality of your letter; a style I flattered myself you had too much good will towards me to use. Pretensions to humility I know are generally traps to flattery; but, could you know how very low my opinion is of myself, I am sure you would not have used the terms to me you did, and which I will not repeat, as they are by no means applicable to me. If I ever had tinsel parts, age has not only tarnished them, but convinced me how frippery they were.
Sweet are your Cowslips, sour my Strawberry Hill;
My fruits are fallen, your blossoms flourish still.
Mrs. Boscawen told me last night, that she had received a long letter from you, which makes me flatter myself you have no return of your nervous complaints. Mrs. Walsingham I have seen four or five times — Miss Boyle has decorated their house most charmingly; she has not only designed, but carved in marble, three beautiful base reliefs, with boys, for a chimney-piece; besides painting elegant panels for the library, and forming, I do not know how, pilasters of black and gold beneath glass; in short, we are so improved in taste, that, if it would be decent, I could like to live fifty or sixty years more, just to see how matters go on. In the mean time, I wish my Macbethian wizardess would tell me “that Cowslip Dale should come to Strawberry Hill;” which by the etiquette of oracles, you know, would certainly happen, because so improbable. I will be content if the nymph of the dale will visit the old man of the mountain, and her most sincere friend.